The games keep coming thick and fast for Exeter City, and next on the agenda is the home tie with Walsall.
Here is a rundown of Tuesday’s opponents…
- Founded: 1888
- Nickname: The Saddlers
- Honours: League 2 (2006/07), Fourth Division (1959/60)
- Home Kit: Errea red shirts with white and green trim, white shorts, green socks
- Form: DLDLL (17th in League 2)
The bird on the Walsall FC crest directly links to the formation of the Club. Two of the leading teams in the area during the 1880’s were the Walsall Swifts and Walsall Town. In 1888 the two decided to join forces as Walsall Town Swifts and changed the name in 1895 to just simply, Walsall.
The nickname ‘The Saddlers’ reflects town’s status as the home of the leather industry. During the First World War, one single saddlery company from Walsall supplied an incredible 100,000 saddles for the British Army, in one year alone.
The Saddlers are Original Members of both the old Third and Fourth Divisions and won their first Fourth Division title in the 1959/60 season managed by Billy Moore. They got promoted again in 1961 to reach the Second Division for the first time in their history.
After back to back relegations in 1979/80 to drop back to Div 4, Walsall returned to Division 2, eight years later.
At the end of the century Walsall would find themselves in Division 1 (The Championship) where they spent 4 of the next 5 years, before another double relegation found the Saddlers back in the basement tier.
In 2006/07, Walsall won their second title, pipping Hartlepool to the League Two trophy on the final day of the season, to regain League 1 status. After twelve years in the third tier Walsall were relegated back to League 2 in 2019, and finished 12th before the curtailment.
After a positive start this season, Walsall have since dipped off and with one win in their last 11 games find themselves lounging in 17th.
Promoted from the number two position in February, Brian Dutton has taken the reins over at the Bescot Stadium. This is the 35-year-olds first full managerial appointment but is supported with a strong backroom team including former Birmingham City goalkeeper Maik Taylor.
Dutton had a fairly quiet playing career, never making the step out of non-league. He’s no stranger to this part of the country, having played for Weymouth and Dorchester in his time as a player. In 2017 he moved back to the Westcountry with former manager Darrell Clarke, as they both pursued the next step of their journey at Bristol Rovers.
In 2019, Dutton left Rovers and a week later rejoined Clarke and former City striker Marcus Stewart at Walsall. In February 2021, Clarke was offered the position at Port Vale, leaving Dutton to take charge as the main man for the Midlands club.
- Name: Banks’s Stadium
- Capacity: 11,300
- Year opened: 1990
- Address: Bescot Crescent, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 4SA
The £4.5m stadium was opened in 1990 to replace the old Fellows Park, where Walsall FC had played since its inception. The Bescot Stadium (now Banks’s due to sponsorship) was opened by Sir Stanley Matthews.
The ground is almost iconic to away fans up and down the country, as it sits just off the M6, and within walking distance of the nearest railway line.
Plans to redevelop the ground were scuppered due to Walsall’s failure to secure Championship status, but the initial idea to help fund the project was to use the back of the away end as an advertising board for the M6- making it the largest motorway billboard in Europe.
One to Watch
In Elijah Adebayo’s absense, striker Caolan Lavery will be the main man up top for Brian Dutton. Six goals and two assists makes him the most affluent player still in the Walsall side after the Saddler’s were stripped of Adebayo’s quality up top on his move to Luton Town.
Lavery has since scored two in back-to-back games against Cheltenham and Stevenage and is performing better as the main man going forward.
Last season, Lavery netted against City in the 3-3 draw here at the Park and the Grecians need to ensure there is no complacency in the back line, if they’re going to nullify Walsall’s attacking threat.
Sam Moakes pinpoints two other key players for Walsall in this week’s ‘Ones to Watch.’
Head to Head
When Exeter do play Walsall the one thing that is certain is goals- apart from this season. In 80 meetings between the two, 262 goals have been scored at an average of over 3 per game.
Before October’s stalemate there has only ever been one 0-0 draw, in a League Cup game in 1993. Walsall have had the lions share of the wins over Exeter, though City have two wins and two draws from the last five league meetings.
- Exeter Wins: 26
- Draws: 14
- Walsall Wins: 40
Walsall 0-0 Exeter City | October 17, 2020
Nothing could separate the two teams at the Banks’s Stadium as City earned a hard-fought draw at the hands of one of the league’s in-form sides.
Walsall 3-1 Exeter | March 7, 2020
An early strike from Rory Holden and a brace for Adebayo ended Exeter City’s automatic hopes, in the final game before lockdown- in a match most remembered by City fans for that offside call.
Exeter 3-3 Walsall, 21 December 2019
City battled from 3-0 down in the opening 31 minutes to claim a point at SJP. Two goals from Ryan Bowman and a second-half strike from Lee Martin completed the fightback.
Exeter 4-2 Walsall, 21 April 2012
Goals from Dan Nardiello, two for Alan Gow and Liam Sercombe kept Exeter’s League One survival hopes alive against 10-man Walsall.
In 1970 Walsall were forced to move to the Hawthorns (West Bromwich Albion) for their home fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion, as their last 4 home games at Fellows Park were postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. The game attracted 7,535 fans to the game and was Walsall’s second highest home attendance of the season.
How to Watch
You can purchase a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live BBC Radio Devon commentary, score overlay and replays.
To purchase a match pass please click here.